Once upon a time I thought it would be fun to edit anthologies. I was wrong -- but it took me awhile to realize that, and the major result of my efforts, the only anthology to actually see print out of my various projects, was Newer York.
It's out of print, and although I might have the rights to reprint it (I'd need to go over all the old contracts to be sure), I have no intention of doing so. Tracking down all the authors (or their estates) to pay the tiny royalties it might yield would be far more trouble than it's worth.
If you're interested, you'll need to find a used copy somewhere. Sorry.
- First publication in mass market paperback, 1991 by Roc/Penguin USA, ISBN 978-0451450456.
- Contents copyright 1991 by the various authors.
Table of Contents
by Piers Anthony
by Susan Shwartz
The Cleanest Block in Town
by Janet Asimov
Another Dime, Another Place
by A.J. Austin
Posttime in Pink
by Mike Resnick
by Laurence M. Janifer
by Martha Soukup
by Eric Blackburn
Rise and Fall
by Steve Antczak
Shadows on the Moon
by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Baby Track
by Howard Mittelmark
Clash of Titans (A New York Romance)
by Kurt Busiek
What Lives After
by Robert Frazier
Slow Burn in Alphabettown
by S.N. Lewitt
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
by Michael A. Stackpole
Tomb w/ View
by P.D. Cacek
A Walk Through Beirut
by John Shirley
The Last Real New Yorker in the World
by J.D. Macdonald & Debra Doyle
by Esther M. Friesner
Long Growing Season
by Robert J. Howe
Candelabra and Diamonds
by Don Sakers
In the Good Old Summer Time
by B.W. Clough
by Eric S. Johansson
I'm not a New Yorker, unfortunately. My father was -- he was born and raised in Brooklyn, and when he first married my mother they lived in Manhattan. Some of my father's family had roots in the city dating back a couple of centuries.
A few years before I was born, though, my father got a job in Massachusetts, so I didn't see New York City for the first time until I was about ten years old, and my parents took all six of us kids to the New York World's Fair.
The Fair was great, for a kid -- but the city was incredible. It was real, not just a show. It wasn't put there for the benefit of tourists, it wasn't all intended to show off or sell anything, but it was still just about as much fun as the Fair, without even trying.
Since then, I've gone to visit New York about as often as I could afford it and could find an excuse. I still haven't managed to live there -- maybe someday, but so far the closest I've gotten is New Jersey. Which is not the same thing at all.
I love New York. The world is full of cities, but New York is the city, the one that doesn't pretend to be anything else. It's not the biggest in the world -- though it's up there -- or the oldest, or the newest, but it's the most urban, the purest example of the form.
And as one of the authors in this volume says, New York's the most alive place there is. It's the most intense, diverse, maddening, and wonderful place on Earth.
It's been an inspiration for futurists and philosophers for decades. Fritz Lang's first sight of New York gave us the classic film, "Metropolis." Le Corbusier saw in its skyscrapers the beginning of his ideal of modern architecture. When anybody anywhere wanted to see the biggest, the best, the newest, the most daring, the future of almost anything, he or she would turn to New York.
And likewise, when anybody wanted to warn us all of some urban horror, there was New York. It was in New York that Kitty Genovese was murdered while her neighbors watched. It was New Yorkers who invented the term "mugging" because it was there that the phenomenon was most widespread.
New York was the gateway to America for generations of immigrants, the melting pot, the testing arena. New York is where cultures met, clashed, mingled, fermented and bubbled up in new forms. New York is where fads and fashions first appear, to fail or flourish. It's the heart of American art, theatre, finance, and philosophy.
New Yorkers are special people -- they have to be, to live in a place like that. To the rest of us they might seem loud, opinionated, abrasive -- but how else can people deal with a city as intense and varied as theirs, and hope to survive?
In New York you won't see the pedestrians at corners waiting placidly; they're too wired, too busy. You'll see them taking a lead from the sidewalk like a base-runner off first, ready to hop back if the pitcher/city sends a car their way.
You won't see cab drivers sitting patiently by the curb; you'll see them diving from the center lane to the sidewalk, like a hawk swooping down on its prey, at the sight of a raised hand.
That's the Big Apple, the City. That's New York, subject of song and story, the place where, say the songs, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
That's New York now.
If New York today is the most extreme example of urbanization, what's New York going to be like tomorrow, or the day after? If New York today is human life at its most intense, what's it going to be like when technology changes the way we live, or reality comes apart at the seams?
Science fiction and fantasy have dealt with New York before, as burgeoning metropolis, urban wasteland, radioactive ruin, and even as a tramp starship, and they've still hardly scratched the surface of the city's story potential.
This book is an attempt to deepen that scratch a little.
These stories were written with two rules in mind: The stories were to be set between tomorrow and the end of time, and they were to be about New York City and its people.
The results, like New York, are wildly varied in style and content, covering the whole range of speculative fiction from space opera to cyberpunk, high fantasy to farce. Street punks and sophisticates, uptown and down, it's all here, the World Trade Center, Grand Central Station and Greenwich Village, the Cloisters and the Chrysler Building, street people and psychiatrists, rioters and rockers, cops and crazies.
Welcome to New York.
Welcome to Newer York!
[I thought the original writers' guidelines I circulated might be of interest. This version, from the second round of invitations, is lightly edited and annotated for a modern audience.]
SFWA Members and Other Privileged Characters:
[The anthology was by invitation only, but I invited every SFWA member with a New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut mailing address, as well as several other writers I thought might be interested.]
I've sold New American Library a proposal for an all-original anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories about the future of New York City -- or the New York City of the future, perhaps -- and I'm inviting you all to contribute.
[At the time I wrote this, NAL had not yet been assimilated into Penguin USA, and the Roc imprint hadn't yet been created, though both happened before the book saw print.]
The book's title will be Newer York, and I'm looking for a wide variety of the best stories I can get, stories that abide by a couple of basic rules but are otherwise as diverse as possible:
Rule #1: The story must be set in New York City, and in the future -- near future or far, as long as it's still recognizably New York. Any time between the day after the book hits the stores and the heat-death of the universe is fine.
Rule #2: The story must in some way reflect New York's unique character, and/or the unique character of its inhabitants.
There's no minimum length -- one story already submitted is only 700 words. Maximum length will be 20,000 words, but it will have to be something really good to run that long; I'd prefer to keep them under 12,000 words, in the interests of variety.
So far, I've got stuff ranging from 700 to about 9,000 words. I'd particularly like short-shorts, but I could also use a genuine novelet or two, in the 10,000-12,000 range.
As I implied above, I'm not limiting this to science fiction; fantasy is acceptable, or dark fantasy, or horror. Hard SF is fine, humor would be fine. Even post-holocaust would be fine, if it's not overly familiar. It's got to be a New York story, but that's the only real limitation.
NAL wants 125,000 words. [They got 135,000.] Basic payment will be 4 cents; per word, against a pro rata share of the eventual royalties. Stories under 1,250 words, should any be included, will receive a $50.00 minimum advance.
[This wasn't very good pay even at the time -- but it wasn't completely pitiful, either. Still, at those rates I was fortunate to get as much interest as I did.]
The entire book is due by the end of the year, so I need to have all stories in no later than December 1, 1989 -- and sooner would be better.
I'll accept submissions either on paper or electronically. On diskette, my system uses 3.5" diskettes, 720 KB, IBM compatible; I use DOS 3.3. Straight ASCII is best; other formats may give me problems. I can take submissions by modem, too, either directly, or in the GEnie SFRT SFWA Library (members only).
Please do NOT post submissions anywhere accessible to the general public. Although I didn't realize this initially, this constitutes electronic publication, and NAL is very definite that I mustn't use anything that's been published anywhere previously.
If there's anything more you want to know, drop me a line. I'll be glad to answer any and all questions. Or just go ahead and send a story, if you like, so long as it fits under the two rules.
You can reach me on GEnie as L.EVANS4; I check in about three times a week. On Delphi, which I usually check every Wednesday, I'm WATTEVANS. On CompuServe, which I only check once a month, my number is 72617,2612. On FidoNet, I check for Netmail almost daily under the name Lawrence Evans at 109/202.
[This was before the existence of the World Wide Web. All these addresses are long dead, as are some of the services mentioned. And my online habits are completely different now.]
And in the real world, I'm:
Lawrence Watt-Evans 123 Main St. Anytown, USA[I originally gave my street address, but I don't live at that address any more and have no reason to post my current one here.]
- I received a little over seventy stories, and obviously rejected most of them. Some were incredibly bad. Some were staggeringly inappropriate. Most that I rejected, though, just didn't appeal to me.
- Some of the stories I rejected were from big names, and a couple of those were unbelievably clumsy work; some I bought were from beginners. Some of the stories from established authors required serious revision or heavy editing; some of the beginners' stories didn't need a thing. I was surprised.
- Eric Johansson's story, "Afterword," was submitted as a P.S. on the cover letter he wrote for someone else's submission -- it was along the lines of, "P.S. If I were going to send a story myself, it would be something like this," followed by the story as published. I didn't buy the other story -- which was fun, but not quite what I wanted -- but I bought the P.S.
- One author (I won't say who) submitted four other stories in succession, all of which I rejected with increasingly nasty letters, before finally selling me his fifth attempt. Sometimes persistence pays off.
- One author submitted an ineptly-plagiarized version of Harlan Ellison's "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs." Since I had told that person that if I was allowed to include reprints I'd have gone after Ellison's story, I was astonished at the sheer chutzpah -- I mean, he knew I'd read the original. Needless to say, I didn't buy it.
- One rejected story was obviously set in another city with the place-names (but not the geography) changed to New York ones. I wasn't fooled. In a few other cases, the authors had clearly never set foot in New York. One wonders why they even tried to fool me for a mere four cents a word.
- The acquiring editor asked if I had any cover suggestions; I suggested a futuristic car that had been stripped, parked under the Brooklyn end of the Brooklyn Bridge with the Manhattan skyline in the background, with a mix of familiar buildings (e.g., the Chrysler and the Empire State) and new super-modern ones. The title, "Newer York," would be graffiti spray-painted on a bridge support. A couple of months later that editor told me, "Oh, we used your cover idea." As you can see, though, they didn't, or at least altered it beyond recognition.
- I did not create a webpage about the book when I first set up the Misenchanted Page because one of the contributing authors set one up before I got around to it. Eventually, though, I decided I should have my own, and here we are.
That's it; here's your list of handy exits: